Video doorbell

Video doorbell for small business?

by Angus Jones

With so many staff working from home, your office might be unattended or short-staffed. A video doorbell may be just the solution to allow your small business to continue functioning even if no one is in the office.

What is a video doorbell?

A video doorbell allows a video image to be displayed on a screen when someone presses the doorbell. A smart doorbell is an internet-connected doorbell that will enable notifications and pictures to be sent to a smartphone or a smart home assistant screen.

One of the cool features of a smart doorbell is that you can answer your door from anywhere in the world with internet access. You do not have to be in the same physical location.

If we assume everyone works from home on a Wednesday and there is no one at your work location. A courier presses your doorbell, and you immediately get an alert on your smartphone and an image of the courier. With 2-way talk, you can ask for your delivery to be left at the business next door. 

Courier on video doorbell

Another good scenario is to help deal with door-to-door salespeople. You could send them on their way without even leaving your desk.

Why should you consider a ring video doorbell?

All this technology sounds pretty expensive. Ring, an Amazon company, sells their 2nd generation video doorbell for $150. For an extra $40, you can add a wireless chime. The chime lets others know you have a visitor without the smartphone app.

The doorbell comes with a charging cable and installation screws, including special security screws stopping someone from simply removing your doorbell from its bracket. Unless you hardwire the doorbell, you will need to remove the doorbell periodically to recharge its battery.

It is a pretty simple installation by screwing into a wall or door frame if used wirelessly. The ring doorbell does need to be within wireless range of your business Wi-Fi router. This, combined with downloading the ring app, will allow you to control and receive alerts. Your smartphone app enables video images to be displayed and for 2-way communication to occur with your visitor who has pressed the doorbell.

The ring can also be configured so you can also receive notifications if someone comes within view of the camera. This is a great security feature and does not require the visitor to push the button, whether a welcome visitor or not.

Features of the Ring generation 2 doorbell

The camera can record video in HD, the same resolution you would experience on an HD free-to-air TV channel. If it is nighttime and you have no external lights, the camera will see for approximately 10 meters in black and white tones.

Connectivity to the Ring is via 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. As an Amazon product, you can use Alexa connectivity if you have an Amazon smart home ecosystem.

The ring doorbell is also capable of six pre-set responses if you are away from your smartphone, for example, while exercising.

Real-world tests

The notification is surprisingly fast given that the act of pressing the button must go through the internet to cloud-based servers.

small business parcel delivery

One of the challenges of video surveillance is that the camera can pick up movement in the background. For example, if your video doorbell faced a busy street, we would not recommend using movement detection as you would constantly be getting alerts. There is a feature where you can mask video capture areas so movements in those sections will not trigger a warning.

Areas of the screed can also be masked so they will not be recorded if you need to maintain someone’s privacy.

The setup procedure via the app is very easy, with a step-by-step guide including a guide to help you actually install the doorbell on the wall.

If you wish to keep a record of videos, a subscription Ring protection plan is available for $4.95. This plan enables recordings to be stored for 180 days and also be exported for your own storage. This plan also adds person detection, determining if a person is in the shot and only sending a notification.

Our Take

Your small business with a located entry will benefit from a video doorbell by sending motion alerts as well as from a doorbell being pressed to your smartphone.

Two-way talk allows you to interact with your visitor even if you are in another city or perhaps just a few meters away from your desk.

This smart doorbell at a low entry price gives you greater flexibility to manage your visitors even when no one is at your business premises.

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